Check this List! Unthinkingly Ageist Language Can Catch You Out.

We are collecting examples of the unwitting words and phrases in everyday use that produce demeaning or degrading images of later years

Please send in any you spot. You can do it either as a comment to the blog or tweet @joycewilliams_

 Use the hashtag #AgePride for any you tweet yourself.

Grateful to those who have contributed so far. Not in any particular order.

Ageist Language guidance list:

“Most any use of the word “still, ie she still cycles, looks good, retains a sense of humour, goes out every day….The word “still” gives an ageist stance to every normal activity.”

”All uses of the word ‘young’ where it implies YOUNG = GOOD therefore OLD=BAD”AB5419A8-A0BB-4D90-A67B-27E72BCF8B25

Examples sent in by #AgePride supporters:

“Nursing home manager @Benjami8784 said the first thing he did on taking up his post was to abolish terminology, telling staff that they shouldn’t use any labels they wouldn’t be happy to wear themselves. “It works,” he concludes,”

. “Hate ‘Anti Ageing’ – creams, make up, anything! Should be Pro age!”

“My personal hate What are you doing on a bike at your age”. “You look good for your age . At any age it should be you look good.”

The one that gets up my nose is “insert number young”

#UnthinkingAgeism“Feature Writers and Columnists who talk to their readers about ‘They” meaning older people. Usually done in a caring but patronising manner.”

This really drives me mad. The number of papers who routinely say “grandmother” when a woman is only in her 40s or 50s, to try to diminish her! They don’t say “grandfather” when referring to men of the same age“.

Not a word list, but those ubiquitousbirthday cards using old black and white photos alongside ‘gentle’ jokes about ageing which caricature ”.

“Wrinkly hands as a lazy image of old age”

National Trust ad in the Times showing active older people with the heading “We’re not old. We’re the Recycled Teenagers”.

Dan Snow “Going to historical sites in the U.K. is a more popular activity than going to a football match. It is a vast activity and gets kind of a bad rep – it gets connected with little old ladies and tea rooms “.   BBCRadio2 this morning!

Maria “grey hairs only on trend if you are in your 30s” 😲.

Really angered by the press stories of 90 year old sky divers etc. As if being able to do what young people do is the only merit of a good old age.

We have developed a kind of ageist value system for success in later years.

”A quick-witted 85-year-old”,“An agile 75-year-old”,“Feisty old lady”,“Wow! She’s 78 and still takes online classes.”“This little old lady still parties like a college kid.”“He is 80 years young.”“Can you believe she’s 60 years old?”“60 is the new 30.”

All the above implying older people like that are strange! !

“At what age does one switch from falling over to “having a fall”? Our founder’s 6 yr old falls over all the time but, according to everyone who talks about it, her 82 year old dad recently had a fall.”

Are you still working?

“You look great for your age”.  

Offered to help neighbour unload car. Took two bags.  There was a swift “Do you think you should be doing that?” Unthinkingly kind patronising. I am an adult!


  1. Laura Pigg
    February 5, 2019 / 9:43 am

    Ha, ha, ha ! I would hate to be 16 again! Even 60 would be horrid, but 67 suits me just fine. I do what I want, when I want, and if I make a mistake, it’s a learning experience.

  2. jim james
    February 13, 2019 / 12:31 pm

    What a pleasure.

    At last someone who understand age in the 21st Century. I agree with everything you say and think.

    Shout it loud. Society needs to know!

    Thank you.

  3. Lynda
    February 16, 2019 / 3:35 pm

    Part of the problem is that ‘still…’ is the way we often think of ourselves! I’m soon to be 67 and I look at myself and think -“not bad for an old one!” for example. I can ‘still’ get my feet in the hand basin or get myself up from crouching without holding on to anything etc etc. Ageism is so ubiquitous that we have it in our heads all the time!

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